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Kiss This! (And Happy New Year) December 31, 2009

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Food for Thought.
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Jacopo Werther

(Jacopo Werther)

What are you doing for New Year’s? What are your resolutions (if any)? What are your traditions? What are your traditional resolutions? (Mine is, “I will write an hour every day.” I make this resolution every year, and every year I break it by January 7.)

One NYE tradition that needs to go far, far away is the idea of kissing someone at the stroke of midnight. I’m not saying we shouldn’t kiss people at 12 a.m. on the first day of the New Year. We just needn’t get all mystical about it, as if kissing someone during the first second of 2010 is somehow more romantic or meaningful than kissing someone during the 3,845th second of the year.  More importantly, if we don’t have anyone to kiss, we shouldn’t get all worried. Nonetheless, every year millions of people fret about having someone to snog on this one night. Some settle for less-than-savory dates just so that they can ring in the new year with a kiss. Why?

Because the NYE kiss tradition plays directly into the prevailing myth that a romantic coupling marks the beginning of a new (improved, grown-up) life. The NYE kiss requirement says a new life (the new year) should start with a romantic coupling. Because “relationships” are intended to last for forever, the NYE kiss is seen as “lasting” too–that is, setting the tone for the entire year. (This same optic, where one particular moment is seen as representative of an entire timepan, occurs in panicked discussions about single people “dying alone”.)

I postulate that this paradigm has come to overshadow the good things about the NYE kiss–joy, celebration, spontaneity. Instead, we now have the Desperation Kiss. You’ve seen it. Go to almost any large New Year’s Eve gathering and at about 11:55 (or earlier!) you’ll notice the crowd clumping up into groups of two. Yes, many of these are pairs of people who are either “together” or who genuinely like each other. But too many of them are succumbing to the dynamic I experienced several New Year’s Eves ago on board my fancy-dress Jimmy Buffett Cruise (insert your oxymoron joke here). All names have been changed to protect the idiotic: (more…)

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